Mother Abigail is Stephen King’s Christ figure in this version of the Apocalypse. At 108 years of age, Mother Abigail often reflects on the meaning of her life. As a young woman, she was a guitarist and singer and inherited money and land. The land was later taken away, bit by bit, to pay her taxes. Yet in all of her troubles, Abigail has relied on the Lord to save her and support her in her time of need—as she continues to do in the course of the novel.
Randall Flagg, the anti-Christ figure, can pass for either a black or a white man. He is not clearly of one race or the other, and his evil is such that he is against all that is good, and participates in all that is evil. He participated in Ku Klux Klan burnings, carried pamphlets by Lee Harvey Oswald, and met with revolutionaries in their councils.
Larry Underwood is a rock musician who, after years of struggle and one-night stands in seedy bars, finally makes it in the music world. With more money than he ever dreamed of, he begins to give lavish parties, take drugs, and in general go downhill. Finally, realizing that the people at his parties do not care about him, he leaves Hollywood one night to drive to New York. There his mother still lives in the same little walk-up apartment in which Underwood was reared. When the super-flu strikes, Larry is one of the survivors and endures the horror of seeing New York filled with the bodies of the dead. Larry and another survivor, a woman he picks up, travel west together. Larry’s irresponsibility is demonstrated after his companion dies: He leaves her body to the scavenger birds because he does not like the thought of handling her dead body.
Frannie Goldsmith, a pregnant college girl from New England, is one of King’s more realistically drawn female characters. Although unmarried, Frannie decides that she will carry the child and refuses to consider abortion. Frannie’s gentleness and love add some tenderness to this bleak novel. When she meets Harold Lauder, he is an overweight, clumsy teenager who has a crush on her. Because of her encouragement, Harold begins to grow and mature; though he is ultimately drawn to evil, he has known what it is to love and care for another.